Bob le Flambeur is a brisk crime caper, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville that comes with an unexpected ending. Roger Duchesne plays the lead role with a slick white mane and a casual approach to life. There’s an inkling of that fatalism that seems to be a central element that we see in Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge.


Naked Gun 444 1/4?

Looking a helluva lot like Leslie Nielsen makes things confounding because there’s a tendency to think Bob’s going to slip on a banana peel or something. But no, he’s got more panache in one fingernail than George Clooney could ever have. He breezes through most everything, always seemingly in control and calm to a point. He also manages to pull a girl young enough to be his granddaughter without even trying. Its a slightly unconventional character to be the lead anti-hero in a noir crime caper.

Apparently Bob has been clean for 20 years. He’s even got a good friend in a police inspector. On the first day, he wins big at the races but then blows it all at roulette almost just as quickly, justifying the title in one nonchalant sweep. Almost broke, he hatches a plan with a mate to steal 800 million francs from a casino. He finds a Scottish backer, pays a croupier off for information and gathers a crew in preparation for the heist.

Things get complicated when someone blabs to a girl and another bitch snitches. The police get wind of things and the inspector even invites Bob for dinner, trying to persuade him not to do what he was going to. Bob pays little heed to the warning, instead suiting up for the final showdown, where things don’t quite fall into place the way we were shown beforehand.

If I have learned one important lesson from the film, it’s Bob’s little quip, “Never spill to a dame.”.